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Uber Drivers Will Make Fewer Left Turns From Now On

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Image: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

Left turns cause accidents. Data from the NHTSA shows that some 22 percent of traffic accidents involved vehicles taking left turns at intersections. Uber is taking this data and doing something with it to make drivers and its customers safer. The company has rolled out a slew of new safety measures for driver and rider safety. Among them is having drivers take fewer left turns.

The navigation app that drivers use to get around will now suggest routes that will try not to take as many left turns. For those worried that this will impact their time if they’re in a hurry, the company says that the rerouting will cause minor changes in routes with “little to no changes” in arrival times.

Uber drivers will also get an alert on their apps when approaching an intersection. Uber used more data from the NHTSA that shows that half of all traffic accidents occur at intersections. When approaching an intersection, drivers will now get an alert on their nav app to watch for cross traffic.

The Uber drivers’ app will also have new audio and video recording features. Uber says it began pilot testing of the audio feature last year in three cities in the U.S. Here’s how it works: if an incident occurs, the feature will record and encrypt the audio file from the ride; neither the driver nor rider can listen to it. But both will have access to it to attach the file to an incident report that both Uber and local authorities can use to make a case. Drivers and riders also have the ability when to record the audio and when to share it with Uber. The response to the feature was good, and now the company will be expanding the feature to six more cities: Cincinnati, Nashville, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Tucson. The optional feature will be available starting next month.

The video recording feature functions more or less the same as the audio recording feature. It uses the driver’s phone and records on the front-facing camera so that most of the vehicle’s interior can be recorded. This feature is much more limited in its scope as Uber seems to still be testing it. The company is rolling out the feature to drivers in New York City, Cincinnati, Louisville, Santos, and João Pessoa, Brazil. Uber says if the response to the feature is good enough, it’ll roll it out to more cities.

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